The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) collection no. 1 consists of 1170 objects relating to the history of television and radio broadcasting in Australia since ABC radio first went to air on 1 July 1932. The collection contains technical equipment and archival material including studio control panels and console desks, cameras, radios, musical instruments, gramophones, headphones, microphones, audio records, manuals, ephemera relating to the 'Argonauts' club and other documentation. The ABC's first Outside Broadcast van is the largest object in the collection and one of the most significant, having been used to televise the first ABC broadcast on 5 November 1956.
The material came to the National Museum from the ABC's studios in Sydney. It has national relevance as it was used to broadcast news and entertainment across the country. Thousands of outside broadcasts were made from news, community and sports events using this equipment. The van was restored in time to be displayed at the Sydney Olympics and film the visit of Queen Elizabeth II to the site of the National Museum in 2000.
This collection consists of one Jayco pop-top caravan shell which has been equipped for the outside broadcast of radio programs. The van was purchased by the ABC in 1981 and was used in Canberra for approximately ten years. The structural condition of the van is very good and the broadcast equipment is still in working order.
Since 1932, the ABC has maintained a national network of radio and television stations. In doing so it has facilitated communication between Australians in all parts of the country and has contributed to the development of nationhood. As a national institution, the ABC occupies a place in the social and cultural history of Australia and in the memory of many Australians. The Outside Broadcast Van exemplifies the changing nature of broadcast technology and demonstrates the ABC's continuing commitment to the community it serves. This van also has direct links with many of Canberra's annual social events and public sites.